Below are some startling statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration. These statistics show how many injuries occur and which are most common, what products are responsible for injuries or damages and the amount of fire damage that is caused by fireworks. While these statistics make the dangers very obvious, it important to remember that knowing how to properly use fireworks or, better yet, leaving them to professionals is the only way to help decrease the dangers associated with fireworks.
INJURIES FROM FIREWORKS
In 2003, firework devices caused approximately 9,300 injuries, an increase from 8,800 injuries in 2002. The vast majority of these injuries are associated with Independence Day celebrations. CPSC estimated that 6,800 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries during the 1-month period surrounding July 4th (June 20–July 20, 2003).There were six deaths from consumer fireworks reported that year.
According to National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) survey data, CPSC estimated that nearly half of all fireworks-related injuries (45%) were suffered by children under age 15. Males were disproportionately injured by fireworks (72%) with almost three times as many males as females (28%) injured.The large majority of fireworks injuries occurred with consumer products. CPSC also reported that of the estimated 9,300 fireworks injuries in 2003, only a small number of injuries—100—occurred at public fireworks events.
Burns were by far the most common form of injury. Burn injuries typically occurred to all parts of the body. Hands are the body parts most often injured, accounting for 1,800 of the hospital visits in the 1-month NEISS study period around July 4th, 2003. Eyes followed with 1,400 visits, and then heads/faces/ears and legs with 1,200 emergency visits each.
PRODUCTS ASSOCIATED WITH INJURIES
Of all consumer fireworks, firecrackers were responsible for the greatest number of injuries. In 2003, CPSC estimated 1,600 injuries from firecrackers associated with Independence Day celebrations. Bottle rockets injured 1,000 persons, and sparklers injured another 700.
Of the estimated 700 fireworks injuries to children under 5 years of age, 400 (57%) were caused by sparklers between June 20 and July 20, 2003. Among children 5–14 years of age, firecrackers and bottle rockets resulted in 800 of the 2,400 injuries (33%). Rockets (bottle and other types) alone accounted for 500 of the 1,800 (28%) injuries to persons aged 15–24.
Fireworks sales have been increasing according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. In 2000, fireworks sales totaled $610 million and by 2004 had increased to $775 million.
The following 2003 deaths illustrate the problems:
- A 2-year-old child died in Florida from smoke inhalation from a fire that was started in the laundry room of a mobile home.The fire started when a 3-year-old child lit combustibles with a sparkler.
-Leaning over a pipe where he placed a commercial-type firework projectile, a 38-year-old man in Iowa was killed when he lit the fuse.
-Attempting to block the wind around a launching tube, an 18-year-old man was fatally injured in Michigan when lighting a mortar-type firework.
FIRES CAUSED BY FIREWORKS
The following discussion is based on 2002 National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS, version 5.0) data and reflects injuries, fatalities, and fire loss associated only with the fires caused by fireworks.These losses differ from the figures presented earlier that reflect injuries, fatalities, and property loss caused directly by fireworks.
An estimated 23,200 fireworks fires in 2002 caused approximately $35 million in property loss and injured 75 persons.12, 13 No deaths were reported in the NFIRS data. Most fires are clustered around Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and other holidays or celebrations.
Fifty-nine percent of fires caused by fireworks occur around the Independence Day holiday on July 4th, often in open fields or vacant lots. As such, the materials most commonly ignited (68%) by fireworks are organic materials such as grass and trees. Grass alone was the first material ignited in 47% of all fireworks fires.14 Because these types of fires are located outdoors, they have a relatively low property loss.
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